January 2024 issue

January 29, 2024

Dear Friends of ULS:

I am pleased to share the inaugural edition of ULS News, our newsletter that will be distributed each month when classes are in session. Our goal is to highlight some of the many exciting things happening at the Seminary. A big news item this month is the receipt of more than $3 million in grants that will impact local African American congregations, Asian Theological Education and Aging Adult communities. I hope you enjoy learning more about all that's happening at ULS.​
In Christ,
Rev. R. Guy Erwin, Ph.D.
President and Ministerium of Pennsylvania Chair and Professor of Reformation Studies

- ULS Information Technology director and podcast producer of The Seminary Explores, Don Redman, started a personal podcast called Tell Us A Story, in order to share the stories that connect us, and those that reveal the differences in our lived experiences, hoping to bridge the gaps thereby fostering empathy, respect, and kindness.

- President Erwin is pleased to announce the appointment of Brandee Carrigan as Chief Financial Officer at ULS as of January 16. Brandee comes to ULS with extensive experience in the health care and non-profit sectors, specializing in strategic financial analysis, budget planning, revenue allocation and effective team leadership. In addition to her executive consultant experience, she worked at Hoffman Homes for Youth in Littlestown, PA, J. Terence Thompson, LLC in Hagerstown, MD, Washington Township Municipal Authority in Waynesboro, PA and as Director of Education and Director of Circle of Life Cooperative at the church organizations U.U.C.F & U.U. C.L. in Frederick, MD and Leesburg, VA.

“Brandee will bring a wealth of financial leadership experience to ULS,” said President Erwin. “I am confident her varied skills and advocacy for organizational change will be an asset to the Seminary and look forward to working alongside Brandee and her team in the Office of Finance.”

Brandee will be based on the Gettysburg campus and will make regular visits to the Philadelphia campus.

Brandee Carrigan

- Dr. Storm Swain, The Frederick Houk Borsch Associate Professor of Anglican Studies, Pastoral Care and Theology, co-taught a course on 'Stress, Trauma, and Self-Care,' for 21 pastors, at the Centre for Pastoral Education and Research, Church of Denmark at the Vartov in Copenhagen, with Dr. Christine Johannessen in November. Dr. Swain, together with Dr. Haukur Ingi Jonasson, Program Director, Masters in Project Management program at the University of Reykjavik, met with the local Dean and surrounding clergy of the Reykjanes Peninsula, in Iceland, and produced a series of video lectures on Disaster Spiritual Care, due to the activity, eventual eruption of the volcano Fagradalsfjall, and the evacuation of the town on Grindavik.

- ULS has received three grants totaling $3 million over the past several months:

$1.1 million from Lilly Endowment Inc.’s Thriving Congregations Initiative will support “From Surviving to Thriving: Healing African American Churches Create Spiritual and Congregational Resilience in A Post-Pandemic Context.”$1.8 million from Lilly Endowment, Inc. will further support the Asian Theological Institute (ATI) at ULS, which was founded in 2007 and formerly known as the Asian Theological Summer Institute. This renewal grant will enable the expansion and renaming of the Institute while sustaining the flagship summer program.$250,000 from the Lutheran Foundation for Long Term Living (LFLTL) will assist ULS in implementing the project “Aging Grace-Fully: Author Lecture Series” through the Foundation’s Community Benefit Initiative.​Read the full article.​

- Sherry Crabbs, former Assistant to the director of Field Formation at ULS, retired in December after 35 years of service to LTSG/ULS. "I want to say a huge thank you to the administration, staff and faculty of ULS for your generosity, kind words and friendship during my years here," she said. "It has been a privilege and honor to serve the ELCA. I served under several presidents, worked with outstanding staff members and countless dedicated faculty. The students were the icing on the cake! Our students have given me so many wonderful memories and friendships over the years. There’s a saying about a person who spends more time with coworkers than their own family. It is so true, but LTSG/ULS was and is a part of my family." Please join us in wishing Sherry the very best.

Sherry Crabbs

- We are pleased to announce the Schaeffer-Ashmead Chapel has reopened after being closed for several months for HVAC upgrades. One of the new upgrades includes air conditioning, which will be welcome during the summer months!

Photo courtesy of ULS MDiv student, Deivis Ventura

- Two New York Times best selling authors will present on both campuses as part of our Kindling Faith continuing education program. The Annual Nolde Human Rights Lecture on March 18 at 7:00PM in Philadelphia features author Anthony Ray Hinton, who survived for 30 years on Alabama's death row. His story is a decades-long journey to exoneration and freedom. Mr. Hinton will discuss his book, The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row. On April 24, from 1-2PM, as part of Spring Convocation on the Gettysburg campus, author and Duke professor, Kate Bowler, will talk about overcoming the odds of a grim cancer diagnosis and how her life forever changed. There will be a book signing after both events. Other Kindling Faith events can be found on our online calendar.​

- Rev. Dr. Karyn Wiseman, Stuempfle-Folkemer Professor of Homiletics, will lead two lectionary preaching sessions on Preaching Holy Week and Easter for the Gulf Coast Synod on January 23rd. The event is called, Preaching on the Prairie.